May 26, 2024

Paramount shows ‘Gladiator 2’ as Disney goes R-rated

Footage from ‘Gladiator 2’ was met with an enthusiastic thumbs up at CinemaCon, an annual gathering at which Hollywood studios showcase their upcoming titles

Paramount Pictures unveiled gory first-look footage from “Gladiator 2” as Disney put on an unusually R-rated presentation for movie theater bosses at the final day of CinemaCon in Las Vegas on Thursday.

In an extended trailer for the long-awaited “Gladiator” sequel, star Paul Mescal does battle in a Colosseum filled with rhinos, bloodthirsty baboons and even floating Roman warships, egged on by Denzel Washington’s shadowy advisor.

“It is possibly more extraordinary than the first,” said director Ridley Scott, speaking via video link.

The footage was met with an enthusiastic thumbs up at CinemaCon, an annual gathering at which Hollywood studios showcase their upcoming titles for movie theater owners and managers from around the world.

Ridley Scott’s sequel will hit theaters in November, nearly 25 years after the release of the original, Oscar best online casino real money picture-winning historical epic “Gladiator.”

All this week, promotional marble statues for “Gladiator 2” have adorned the casino floors of Caesars Palace, the Ancient Rome-themed casino and hotel in Las Vegas where CinemaCon is held.

As the previous film’s main characters, played by Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix, were killed off, a new crop of actors step in.

Mescal portrays gladiator Lucius, the nephew of Phoenix’s villainous emperor, who was seen briefly as a child in the original film.

Pedro Pascal plays a military general, while Denzel Washington’s mysterious character is seen in the extended footage plotting to topple the Roman Empire.

“Rome must fall. I need only to give it a push,” he says in one scene.

The lavish presentation raised cheers even as both Paramount and the wider big-screen industry face uncertain times.

US actor Brian Tyree Henry and Australian actor Chris Hemsworth appeared on stage during the Paramount Pictures presentation at CinemaCon

The parent company of Paramount — one of Hollywood’s oldest studios — is currently locked in merger talks with Skydance, a media company founded by the billionaire Ellison family.

Meanwhile overall Hollywood box office receipts are expected to fall in 2024, largely due to last year’s actors and writer strikes, which shuttered and delayed film productions.

On Thursday, Paramount executives also showcased titles such as “A Quiet Place: Day One,” “Smile 2,” “Transformers One” and “IF” — a new comedy from John Krasinski and starring Ryan Reynolds.

Paramount film chief Brian Robbins even joked about the merger talks, suggesting one of his executives had launched a crowd-funded Kickstarter campaign to buy the studio.

– R-rated Disney –

Later on Thursday, Disney rounded off CinemaCon with its own star-studded presentation — which took an unexpectedly adult turn.

Produced by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), in collaboration with Colorado State University, this highly magnified, digitally colorized scanning electron microscopic (SEM) image, reveals ultrastructural details at the site of interaction of two spherical shaped, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) viral particles, colorized blue, that were on the surface of a camel epithelial cell, colorized red.Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson appeared with dancers from ‘Moana 2,’ which is due to be released in November

The showcase included appearances from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson — promoting this November’s “Moana 2” release — and Amy Poehler, who returns in “Inside Out 2” this June.

Oscar-winning “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins previewed his animated prequel “Mufasa: The Lion King,” which hits theaters in December.

Disney unveiled footage of Harrison Ford making his Marvel superhero film debut in next year’s “Captain America: Brave New World.”

But the family-friendly studio’s presentation departed from the usual script with a glimpse of “Deadpool & Wolverine,” Disney’s first R-rated superhero movie.

The film sees Reynolds’ potty-mouthed antihero team up with Hugh Jackman’s beloved “X-Men” star.

US actress Amy Poehler promoted movie ‘Inside Out 2’ during the Walt Disney Studios presentation at CinemaCon

Both characters were previously owned by 20th Century Fox.

But Disney bought that rival studio and its properties in 2019, and is now weaving them into its hugely popular Marvel film series.

That has resulted in a Disney superhero movie that features adult language, explicit sexual references, and several meta jokes about the studios themselves.

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